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B-2 Visa

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The B-2 visa is a temporary, non-immigrant visa that allows individuals to travel to the United States for largely tourism-related purposes. It is a multiple-entry visa that permits individuals to temporarily visit the United States. 

Permissible Activities

Under the B-2 visa, an individual may engage in tourist activities, take a vacation, or visit friends and family. The visa also permits individuals to obtain medical treatment, attend conferences for religious and social organizations, and participate in contests, events, or amateur performances without pay. Additionally, it permits enrollment in a short recreational course of study which is not taken for credit towards a degree, such as a cooking class. Last, the B-2 visa may be used for Applicants who cannot obtain derivative status but are members of the household of another non-citizen in a long-term non-immigrant status.

Impermissible Activities

A B-2 visa holder is not permitted to accept employment or work in the United States. The Applicant may not engage in any activity that will result in earned remuneration, either full-time or part-time. Remote work may be considered prohibited while in the United States on B-2 status.

Immigrant Intent

As the B-2 visa is strictly non-immigrant intent, an individual must also bring documentation to demonstrate the purpose of the trip, the intention to depart the United States after the trip, and the financial capacity to pay all expenses of the trip. Evidence of an individual’s employment, such as paystubs or an employment confirmation letter, should be obtained.  Further, evidence of family ties to the home country will help to demonstrate the individual’s intent to return after the trip.  If an individual cannot cover the costs of the trip, evidence that another person will cover some or all costs should be provided.

B-2 Visa Interview

To determine the wait time for the B-2 interview appointment, an individual must check the specific consulate’s backlog through the Department of State. Wait times for interviews vary by location, season, visa, and backlog. Individuals may schedule interviews in their country of residence or citizenship.

At the interview, the consular officer will determine whether the individual is qualified to receive a visitor visa. Digital fingerprints will be taken. If the consular officer determines that the application requires further review, the case will be placed in administrative processing. If the visa is approved, a visa issuance fee may need to be paid. If an individual is refused the visa under Section 214(b), another application may be filed at a later date.

Maintenance of Status

The B-2 visa permits an individual to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry and request permission to enter the United States; however, it does not guarantee entry. Officials at the port-of-entry have the authority to permit or deny admission to the United States. 

If an individual is permitted to enter, the official will provide an admission stamp or Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.  The I-94 Form will determine the length of time the individual may lawfully stay in the United States. Generally, a B-2 visa holder will be given a six-month I-94 validity period after entry into the United States. 

If an individual seeks to extend his or her B-2 visa time in the United States beyond the date indicated in Form I-94, a timely filed extension request must be filed with USCIS. Generally, the B-2 visa holder will be eligible for another six-month validity period. However, the USCIS officer may issue the approval for a lesser time.

Failure to depart the United States by the Form I-94 end date or file a secondary application will result in an individual being out of status. Visas of individuals who are out of status are automatically voided under the regulations. Failure to depart the United States by the end-date may also result in the individual being ineligible for visas in the future. 


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